Fact Checking Fail of the Day

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Arab media fact checkers fell asleep at the wheel. The result? An Arab League condemnation of Benjamin Netanyahu over comments he never made about 10 Palestinian school children tragically killed in an road accident on Thursday.

Arab League condemns Netanyahu”s wish of “death to all Arabs” remarks

Say what?

The Times of Israel explains what happened:

Shortly after the fatal accident last Thursday, Netanyahu posted a message of consolation on his official Facebook page, but some responders posted expressions of relief and even joy at news that the victims were Palestinian. Those comments were removed by Netanyahu’s staff within an hour.

But Jordanian daily A-Dustour ran an article titled “Netanyahu wishes death to all Arabs,” misquoting coverage of the story by the Israeli daily Haaretz.

The Jordanian article quickly spread across Arab media and has now even reached the top political institution of the Arab world.

This Jordanian government mouthpiece has some ‘splaining to do. Attributing lowest common denominator talkbacks to the Prime Minister tells me that the A-Dustour writer didn’t bother to carefully read the Haaretz article he so sloppily ripped off.

No skewed “story” dies a quiet death anymore. Other papers relying on A-Dustour’s credibility repeated this “scoop,” and the Arab League condemnation elevates the idiocy to a life of its own.

It’s ain’t for nothing that in Journalism 101, the supreme importance of fact checking is best described by an adage familiar to any newsroom — except, it seems, A-Dustour’s:

If your mother says she loves you, check it out.

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